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San Jose signs university goalie as backup

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 6:49 PM / News

NHL.com

The San Jose Sharks on Thursday signed goaltender Jordan White to a one-game amateur tryout and will dress him as the backup to Antti Niemi for their game at Vancouver.

White plays for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. He has a 7-11 record in 18 games, with a 3.51 goals-against average and an .876 save percentage.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound native of Surrey, B.C. is currently in his second season with UBC.

"Coach [Milan Dragicevic] called me into his office and told me the situation," White, who was preparing for practice with UBC around noon, told the school's newspaper. "At first, I was just trying to put it into perspective. You’ve heard about these stories on TV or in the papers and I’m looking forward to the experience and taking it for what it is."

White is taking the place of goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury.

He's not the first UBC goaltender to get a brief trip to the big time. On Dec. 9, 2003, the Vancouver Canucks signed third-string T-Birds goalie Chris Levesque to a one-day contract to back up Johan Hedberg when the Canucks hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nor is he the first goaltender to be signed "off the street" and dress for a game this season. Phoenix starter Ilya Bryzgalov got sick at the morning skate in New York last month, the Coyotes signed former college goaltender Tom Fenton to back up Jason LaBarbera. Fenton, who played at American International College before graduating in 2009, had been working in community relations at nearby Manhattanville College. He dressed and took warmups but didn't play in the 4-3 shootout loss.

The Pittsburgh Penguins also signed 18-year-old junior goaltender Alexander Pechurski to an amateur tryout contract for their game at Vancouver on Jan. 16, 2010. Pechurski, a late-round draft pick by the Penguins who played for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, was signed because the Pens were without injured starter Marc-Andre Fleury and backup Brent Johnson. Vancouver scored five times against John Curry, and Pechurski wound up playing most of the last two periods, allowing just one goal on 13 shots in a 6-2 loss.

Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82